Hearty and warming butterbean stew recipe

It’s the season of potatoes and parsnips, carrots and celeriac. But even those who love a hearty British dinner can quickly become disheartened at the thought of root vegetable soups and stews for months ahead.

A dash of spice can go a long way in livening up a dish. Whether it’s pairing coriander with carrot, cumin with parsnip or chilli with sweet potato, even a pinch can transform roasted root vegetables or soups.

This stew recipe goes a step further, by using coconut milk instead of traditional stock. The result is a light and aromatic dish, which is best cooked on a dreich day when the flavours will transport diners to warmer climes. 

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 4



  • 2 tbsp oil (preferably groundnut or coconut)
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into bitesize chunks
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp garam masala (optional) 
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 knob of ginger, peeled and grated 
  • 2 tomatoes, rough dice
  • 1 x 400ml coconut milk 
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400g tin of buttterbeans
  • 350g brown rice
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander, picked
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1 chilli, cut into slivers (optional) 



  1. Put a slug of oil into a casserole dish, and heat on a medium-high hob setting. Add the butternut squash, and then the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the onion is turning translucent and the chunks of butternut squash start to take on some colour.
  2. Add the garlic and chilli to the pan, and cook for one more minute, and then add the garam masala, turmeric, chilli, ginger and tomatoes. Pour the coconut milk over everything, and then measure out 400ml of vegetable stock in the empty can. Tip it into the pan, and finally add the drained butterbeans.
  3. Put on the lid, and leave the stew to cook at a gentle simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the rice, according to pack instructions.
  4. Divide the rice between four bowls. Use a ladle to spoon the stew on top. Garnish with a few fresh coriander leaves, and serve with a wedge of lime and optional chilli for those who love spice.  


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